There's a song by Tenth Avenue North that I've heard before but never really struck a chord with me until this morning. I've mentioned before that I have a history of anxiety and depression. Intense desires for perfection coupled with my obsessive compulsive tendencies have given me an incredibly unhealthy amount of self deprecation. I first noticed the degree to which I beat myself up not long after Jon and I got married. I gained 10-15 pounds and absolutely hated how I looked, but I didn't *do* anything about it. My inaction just fueled my fire and I fell into a vicious cycle of self loathing and internal abuse. Eventually I had to untag a handful of pictures of myself on Facebook in a very short period of time which made me think enough is enough and I went on Weight Watchers with much success.
I think you know where this is headed.
Carrying two babies--two babies who I carried like I was smuggling basketballs--has obviously changed my body to a relatively extreme degree. My stomach is my biggest source of insecurity. Not only is it riddled with deep stretch marks, but I have quite a bit of excess skin that just hangs awkwardly. While this was a new development following Elden, it was absolutely exacerbated by Edith. Very few of my clothes from between the kids fit right and I have always been too cheap to buy myself new things. Couple that with my already odd (at least from the clothing industry's standards) body proportions (very wide set hips, no butt whatsoever, long legs) and more than a few times a week I was resolved to tears as I attempted to find clothes to wear for the day. You wanna know what also doesn't help when you're insecure about your appearance? Being married to a guy who has been told by multiple people on multiple occasions that he could totally make it as a model and whose sense of style is on point. This isn't to be a dig at Jon - he has been an absolute saint through my insecurities and emotions our entire relationship. I have a partner who is reassuring, loving and patient when it comes to my emotional baggage (of which there is plenty). But it definitely factors in to how I view myself.
You are fat. You are disgusting. You look like a slob. When people see you and Jon together they probably are wondering what he ever saw in you.
Guys, I have embodied the whole "my own worst enemy" thing. No aspect of my life has really been healthy since I gave birth to Edith. My faith has been stagnant, I haven't been eating well or exercising, and I couldn't find a single redeeming quality about myself. My self loathing led me to a place where I was far from present emotionally with the kids, I was taking my anger out on Jon, etc.
I recently decided enough is enough (again). I've ridden my bike around our neighborhood a couple of times and I am trying to watch my portion sizes as that was the main difference Weight Watchers made in my life. I haven't weighed myself once since I started this because a) it's not about some arbitrary and, knowing me, probably unhealthy number that I choose and b) it's mostly excess skin anyway and there's nothing I can really do about that. But I've seen a remarkable change in my whole view of myself since I started actually trying to get to a place of contentment. I am much more present with the kids after work. It is much easier for me to put my phone away while they're awake because I don't feel a need to mindlessly distract myself from all of my horrible thoughts. Jon and I are communicating better and laughing more and are just generally in a better place. Every free moment of every day isn't polluted by negative thoughts. I wouldn't say that any moments are necessarily filled with positive thoughts about myself, either, but it's kind of insane how drastically different I feel now that I have a relative level of internal peace. Hearing that song on the radio this morning just kind of drove the point home that I am worth so much more than constantly beating myself up. The last thing I ever want is for my kids to feel about themselves the way I felt about me. Besides, they love me like crazy and think pretty highly of me so why should I think so much less of myself? There will always be room for improvement. And today I will try to be a better version of me.